by Kevin Walsh

An unusual item turned up while I was attending a wake on Tuesday (April 16th). I disdain wakes, and I’ll have to make sure I don’t get one. I understand for many it’s part of the mourning process, as people need to get together to chitchat outside of a house of worship setting, but to me people sitting in a room with a corpse in it is inherently creepy. Still, 90% of life is showing up, and I did my duty without complaint, and saw some people I haven’t talked to for awhile.

One of them told me about an old rusted sign for a Lutheran church they had seen in the traffic triangle formed by Nostrand Avenue, Gravesend Neck Road and Avenue U, opposite the Brennan and Carr roast beef-a-torium.

Most of the letters have worn off the decades-old sign, but it points to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at New York Avenue and Avenue M. I have to be forgiven, but I wasn’t under the impression that New York Avenue extended as far south as to meet Avenue M. As it turns out it’s the only one of Brooklyn’s “New York State cities” avenues to extend south of Flatbush Avenue. Brooklyn has a run of north-south avenues named for New York State cities, running west to east in order. The are named for cities running north along the Hudson River, and then, west along the Erie Canal to Lake Erie. Thus, in order, they are: New York, Brooklyn, Kingston, Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Utica, Rochester, and Buffalo. Most of them don’t make it as far south as Flatbush, but those that do take the place of numbered streets; for example, New York Avenue stands in for East 33rd Street.

Interestingly, I have a recent photo of the very church the sign is advertising, Good Shepherd Lutheran at Avenue M and New York Avenue in Midwood. I don’t know why the church placed the sign miles away in Marine Park, but, there it is.

Check out the ForgottenBook,┬átake a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Peter April 17, 2019 - 12:15 pm

Up until a road reconstruction project a few years ago there was a similar type of sign near me in Suffolk County. It was on Horseblock* Road in Farmingville and advertised Hope Lutheran Church in Selden, about two and a half miles away. Although the sign was as rusted as this one it couldn’t have been more than 50 years old, as Hope Lutheran was built in the mid-1960’s.

* = a large stone stoop that enabled people to board carriages

Red Spinner April 17, 2019 - 1:03 pm

LOL as far as the miles away signs go: I remember laughing decades ago, as a kid on a bike seeing the sign “Bronx-Whitestone Bridge” on Avenue U & Ocean Parkway. So close; yes, I know !

Bob April 19, 2019 - 6:33 pm

I last saw it in 2014, but there was a sign for Flushing Meadows by the Coney Island Avenue exit from the Belt.

chris April 29, 2019 - 5:46 pm

You probably haven’t been to an Irish wake.


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